US Preparing Tighter Oil Sanctions on Venezuela
The Trump administration is looking to tighten oil sanctions on Venezuela in the near future, top U.S. envoy for the country told Reuters on Monday, by potentially removing exemptions that allow some oil companies to exchange Venezuelan crude for fuel from the OPEC member.U.S. President Donald Trump has ramped up sanctions on Venezuela's state-run PDVSA, its key foreign partners and customers since it first imposed measures against the company in early 2019, seeking to oust the…
UK highlights Gulf shipping threats
The UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is to call for more international support to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz when he meets his French and German counterparts later today (Friday, August 31) for talks about Iran. Last month, Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait in apparent retaliation for the UK’s seizure in Gibraltar of an Iranian ship accused of violating European sanctions by taking oil to Syria.The UK joined a U.S.-led mission to escort merchant vessels through the Strait of Hormuz at the start of this month but Germany and France declined to take part…
Mitigating Maritime Risk
“The First Steps in Mitigating Contemporary Risks to our Strategic Sea Lines of Communication”It is indisputable that the world’s economy floats on seawater. It is equally indisputable that international maritime transportation is the tool that keeps the global economy moving. The world economy has surged over the last half century, and that growth has been largely driven by globalization and the consequent reduction in barriers to trade. Any operational disruptions in maritime transportation have wider consequences for society…
The Tipping Point: U.S. Exports more Oil than it Imports
The United States last week exported more crude oil and fuel than it imported for the first time on record, underscoring the nation's growing influence as a supplier of oil to the world.Exports of crude surged in the week to Nov. 30 to more than 3.2 million barrels per day, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Thursday.When adding in all imports and exports of crude and refined products, for the week the U.S. exported a net 211,000 bpd – the first time that has happened, according to U.S.
FMC's Doyle to Exit Commission in January, 2018
Today, the Office of Commissioner William P. Doyle of the U.S. “Last week, I notified The President of the United States Donald J. Trump of my intention to leave the Federal Maritime Commission effective January 3, 2017. It has been an honor and a privilege to continue serving in the Trump Administration. I thank President Barack Obama for nominating and appointing me twice as a Commissioner. “I am proud to have worked alongside my fellow Commissioners and with such a dedicated and hardworking Commission staff.
Cyber Threats Prompt Return of Radio for Ship Navigation
The risk of cyber attacks targeting ships' satellite navigation is pushing nations to delve back through history and develop back-up systems with roots in World War Two radio technology. Ships use GPS (Global Positioning System) and other similar devices that rely on sending and receiving satellite signals, which many experts say are vulnerable to jamming by hackers. About 90 percent of world trade is transported by sea and the stakes are high in increasingly crowded shipping lanes.
Dinh-Zarr to Serve as NTSB Acting Chairman
Christopher A. Hart’s term as Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board concluded on schedule Wednesday and Vice Chairman Bella Dinh-Zarr will serve as the agency’s acting chairman. Hart will remain at the NTSB, applying his transportation safety expertise in the capacity of a board member. The NTSB has five board members, each nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate to serve five-year terms. By statute, a board member is designated by the President as Chairman and another as Vice Chairman for two-year terms. The Chairmanship requires separate Senate confirmation.
Florida Ports Drop Plans to Ink Pacts with Cuba
The news comes as Cuba watchers are looking closely for signs of how the United States' fragile detente with Cuba will fare under President Donald Trump. "Disappointed some (Florida ports) would enter into any agreement with Cuban dictatorship," Scott wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. "I will recommend restricting state funds for ports that work with Cuba in my budget. Port authorities along the U.S. Southern coast are strong proponents of increased trade and travel with Cuba, and some have expressed interest in using Mariel…
Go Ahead for Brownsville Ship Channel Deepening
President Barack Obama signed into law the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, authorizing the Brownsville Ship Channel deepening project, making it eligible for federal funding, as announced by the Port of Brownsville. The Brazos Island Harbor Channel Improvement Project was one of 28 water infrastructure projects nationwide included in the WRDA and submitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to Congress for approval. The project calls for the Port of Brownsville channel to be deepened to 52 feet from its current design depth of 42 feet.
Obama Taps Foss VP for USMMA Board
Susan Hayman, Foss Maritime VP of HSQE & External Affairs, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to the United States Merchant Marine Academy's (USMMA) Board of Visitors. This key administrative post is for a term of two years, commencing at the beginning of each Congress. The board is made up of Congressional representatives and Presidential appointees, including two alumni. It provides oversight, advice and recommendations on matters relating to USMMA. Hayman is a 1980 graduate of USMMA and a 1986 graduate of Harvard Business School.
New Orleans Port Signs Mou With Cuba
Port of New Orleans Chief Operating Officer Brandy Christian joined Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in signing a memorandum of understanding with Cuba on Oct. 4 pledging to expand trade and commerce opportunities between Louisiana and the Caribbean nation. The agreement also calls for joint marketing and information sharing efforts to meet those objectives. “The proximity and historical relationship between Cuba and the Port of New Orleans has us well-positioned should the trade embargo be lifted…
White House Sees a Path to Approval of Pacific Trade Deal
The White House on Monday said it was hopeful it could win congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact before President Barack Obama leaves office, and warned that failing to do so would undermine U.S. leadership in the region. "The president is going to make a strong case that we have made progress and there is a path for us to get this done before the president leaves office," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a new briefing ahead of a trip by Obama to Asia this week. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by James Dalgleish)
ASEAN in Discord Ahead of Meeting with top China, U.S. Diplomats
Southeast Asian nations were thrown into disarray after Cambodia on Saturday blocked them from issuing a statement referring to an international court ruling against China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, diplomats said. The U.N.-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague handed an emphatic legal victory to the Philippines in the maritime dispute earlier this month, denying China's sweeping claims in the strategic seaway. Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will meet for the first time since the ruling on Sunday, before hosting U.S.
Hundreds of Scientists Urge Obama to Halt Arctic Oil Drilling
Nearly 400 scientists from more than a dozen countries signed a letter urging U.S. President Barack Obama to take the Arctic Ocean out of the next federal offshore lease sale plan, thus ruling out the possibility of offshore drilling in the Arctic in the near future. Scientists from 13 countries have signed the letter saying global warming will be accelerated by burning oil found in the Arctic Ocean. “No new oil and gas leasing or exploration should be allowed in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas in the foreseeable future,” the scientists said.
Smith Named Director of NOAA Coast Survey
President Barack Obama has approved the promotion of Shepard Smith, from captain to rear admiral (lower half), a prerequisite for Smith to become director of NOAA's Office of Coast Survey, after his selection by Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. Smith's appointment to director will be effective on August 26, 2016. Smith will oversee NOAA's charts and hydrographic surveys, ushering in the next generation of navigational products and services for mariners who need integrated delivery of coastal intelligence data. He succeeds Rear Adm.
Nations Seek Early Ratification of Paris Climate Deal
Many nations are pushing for swift ratification of a Paris agreement to slow climate change and lock it in place for four years before a change in the White House next year that might bring a weakening of Washington's long-term commitment. More than 130 nations with 60 leaders including French President Francois Hollande are due to sign December's pact at a U.N. ceremony in New York on April 22, the most ever for a U.N. agreement on an opening day, the United Nations said. Both China and the United States…
U.S. Navy Leads 30-nation Maritime Exercise
The U.S. Navy is leading a 30-nation maritime exercise across Middle Eastern waters which it says will help protect international trade routes against possible threats, including from Islamic State and al Qaeda. The exercise, which is partly being held in the Arabian Gulf, comes as tensions run high between Gulf Arab countries and Iran over its role in the region, including its support for President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war, for the Houthis in the Yemen conflict and for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
U.S. Plans third Patrol near Disputed S.China Sea Islands
The U.S. Navy plans to conduct another passage near disputed islands in the South China Sea in early April, a source familiar with the plan said on Friday, the third in series of challenges that have drawn sharps rebukes from China. The exact timing of the exercise and which ship would travel inside a 12-nautical mile limit around a disputed island was not immediately clear. The United States has conducted what it calls "freedom of navigation" exercises in recent months, sailing near disputed islands to underscore its right to navigate the seas. U.S.
Obama Calls Paris Climate Pact 'best chance' to Save the Planet
U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday hailed the landmark climate accord reached in Paris as strong and historic, calling it the best chance to save the planet from the effects of global climate change. "Today the American people can be proud because this historic agreement is a tribute to American leadership. Over the past seven years, we've transformed the United States into the global leader in fighting climate change," Obama said. Speaking at the White House hours after the deal was completed…
House Passes Bill Axing Oil Export Ban, Obama Veto Looms
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a wide-ranging bill on energy reforms on Thursday that includes a measure to repeal the 40-year-old oil export ban, but the legislation did not get enough votes to overturn a potential veto by President Barack Obama. The North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act passed 249 to 174, but did not get the 290 votes needed to overcome a veto. The bill would also speed the permitting of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and improve the aging power grid.
Senator Urges Obama Admin to Detail Oil Swaps with Mexico
One of the U.S. Senate's top advocates for lifting the ban on domestic crude exports urged the Commerce Department on Thursday to disclose whether any oil swaps with Mexico have actually been finalized after the agency approved the transactions in August. Administration officials told Reuters in August that the Commerce Department was "acting favorably on a number of applications" to export U.S. crude in exchange for imported oil from Mexico, in a step seen as loosening the ban on most crude oil exports.
Angry China Warns U.S. Navy Ship
A US Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed close to China’s man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea, drawing an angry rebuke from Beijing, which said its warships tracked and warned the American vessel, reports Reuters. China summoned the American ambassador to protest the U.S. Navy's sailing of a warship close to one of China's artificial islands, in an act that challenged Chinese sovereignty claims. According to a report in AP, the Executive Vice Minister Zhang Yesui said that the U.S.
Obama to Attend Paris Climate Summit
President Barack Obama still plans to attend a global climate summit in Paris at the end of November despite the attacks claimed by Islamic State, a senior U.S. administration official said on Saturday. The Paris summit is focused on curbing climate change, one of the Obama administration's top priorities. A French official told Reuters earlier on Saturday that the summit would continue with beefed-up security despite the deadly attacks on Paris that killed 127 people. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Sandra Maler)
Philippines Warns China: World is Watching You
China came under renewed criticism over its rising profile in the South China Sea at Asia-Pacific summit when Philippines President Benigno Aquino III warned China that “the world is watching” you, reports Reuters. Whether China would behave as a responsible power in the simmering standoff over maritime territory, is the question in this context. "The world is watching and expects no less from a responsible global leader," Aquino said. "We are hopeful that China would honour its word and respect the rule of law," Aquino said.
Gates to Launch Mega Clean Tech Initiative
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will launch a multi-billion-dollar clean energy research and development initiative on Monday, the opening day of the U.N. climate change summit in Paris, GreenWire reported Friday. Gates and a group of developing and developed countries will agree to double their research and development budgets to boost clean energy deployment and work collaboratively, according to GreenWire, an energy and climate trade publication, citing government and business officials familiar with the agreement.
Merkel Urges Binding Goals to Tackle Climate Change
Germany's chancellor gave a qualified welcome on Saturday to China's pledge to tackle rising temperatures ahead of a global climate conference but she called for more ambitious goals to cut greenhouse emissions. In her weekly internet podcast on Saturday, Angela Merkel also underscored the long-term importance of coal-fired power for Germany, a country that remains one of the globe's biggest economies and exporters. "It is remarkable that China ... has given a timeframe for reduction of 2030," said Merkel.